My Big Secret

Amanda Bauner shares why travel solo

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In this episode, I share my big secret, and it’s related to my honest thoughts and feelings about solo travel.

Spoiler alert: you may be surprised!

One of my core values is authenticity. It’s deeply important to me. I have little patience for b.s. or fakeness. I don’t feel like I’ve been faking it necessarily, but I haven’t shared with you the whole truth. And if I’m going to ask you to trust me to guide you on all the things related to solo travel, and if I’m going to ask you to come along with me on this journey of exploring all the world has to offer us, and if I’m asking you to join the Me and the Magic community where we connect over solo travel, then I need to share with you how I really feel about solo travel.

What’s someone like me to do when I want to travel, but there’s no one who can go with me? I have two options – I either travel solo, or I don’t travel. So let’s dig into both of those options, starting with the latter.

If I don’t travel, here’s how I view those results – I deprive myself of experiencing other parts of my state, my country, and other countries. If I don’t travel, I don’t meet new people from all over the world. If I don’t travel, basically I stay home. Now, you may be a home body, and don’t get me wrong – there are days and sometimes weeks when I just want to be home! And I’m incredibly blessed to live in the Orlando area, so obviously there is so much for me to do in this area – and I do enjoy a lot of it, as you know if you’ve been listening to the show for awhile. But traveling to other places lights me up. It excites me to explore new places, and it warms my heart to return to places I love. My soul feels so peaceful out at sea, watching the sun rise. I love trying new cuisines, meeting new people, and learning more about history and different cultures. And of course, I love experiencing the Disney magic at the different parks, the resorts, and the Disney cruises. So for me, staying home all the time is not an option. That leaves traveling solo when there’s no one else to go with me.

The truth is… I don’t always enjoy solo travel. In fact, I often wish I had someone traveling with me.

There, I said it. Now you know my big secret, that this self-proclaimed solo travel expert actually prefers, most of the time, to travel with others compared to traveling solo. Hopefully, you are still listening and haven’t unsubscribed and deleted my podcast. But I can understand, especially if you’ve been listening for awhile, how you may be feeling confused, or maybe even a little betrayed, right now. Like, really, Amanda? You’ve been encouraging us to travel solo when you don’t even like it? So let me explain.

Why travel solo?

When I first started to travel solo, it was more out of necessity than because I wanted to travel solo. I had to travel solo for some work assignments. And then after going to Walt Disney World with friends in 2012 and rediscovering the magic, after 12 years of being away, I was so ready to go again, only no one was available to go with me. Again, those other responsibilities in life prevented others from being able to travel with me – finances, family, work… I’m sure you know them well!  So I planned my very first solo trip to Walt Disney World in 2014, and guess what – as soon as i arrived, I got sick. I had one of the worst colds of my entire life. I tried to get up early each morning for rope drop, because that was when I felt best, but by early afternoon I would be back in my Coronado Springs resort room for the rest of the day, ordering room service and taking cold medicine. I was miserable, and I would have loved to have had someone there with me, taking care of me. But ya know what? I probably would’ve then passed on my sickness to them, and then we’d both be down and out. I learned a lot on that trip. I learned how self-reliant I was. I also learned the best places at Walt Disney World to find chicken noodle soup! And I learned to really listen more to my body, to not push myself, which was really hard because I wanted to experience all the magic from sun up to sun down, and of course the shows at night! But guess what… I booked my next solo trip to Walt Disney World while I was coughing my head off in that resort room, not because I wanted a do-over, but because there were enough aspects of that trip that I enjoyed, even traveling solo and sick, that I knew I wanted to experience more of that magic.

Sometimes, I really want to travel through life in general with someone. It’s not just traveling to other places, it’s my own want to have my own special someone to share my life with, someone to take care of me when I’m sick (and vice versa). Someone to be by my side, maybe not every single moment of every single day, but most of the time. If you are single, you may relate to this feeling. Or you may be feeling disappointed right now, because you celebrate being single and you don’t feel that you need a special someone. And that’s fantastic! This is what makes us all so beautifully unique and different, we are all allowed to have our own thoughts and feelings, and our own wants and needs. 

For me, when I’m traveling, I often don’t feel lonely because I travel in a way that I make sure I am interacting with others. But when I’m home, where I live alone, I am just that – alone. And don’t get me wrong, I value alone time. But I also get lonely. 

I recently had a really fantastic weekend with friends. We were partly working and then having fun around Walt Disney World, and I just did not want the weekend to end. Do you know that feeling? What a blessing it is to have that feeling, when you just want to hold onto those moments and those people. But then we go back to our daily lives and routines, and we plan for the next amazing time together, and that’s what makes it so special.

I do believe that solo travel can be very special and very rewarding. And as I said earlier, I prefer to travel solo over not traveling at all. There are some trips that I want to take solo. And there are still some trips that I wish I had someone coming with me, but instead I go solo because I don’t want to miss out on the experience altogether. 

I can imagine that, if you are used to traveling with your special someone, but then circumstances change – your loved one sadly passes away, or your relationship ends – that you may be able to relate to my sentiments I’m sharing. Or maybe not… maybe you feel some freedom to be able to travel on your own for the first time in a long time. Solo travel definitely offers a lot of freedom, and that is a great feeling. 

But going back to my core values… another core value of mine is connection. I love to connect with people, and when it’s a really authentic connection, it’s the absolute best for me. So I have another secret to share, and maybe you’ve figured this one out already… my creation of Disney Travel for All, and now Me and the Magic, had some selfish reasons behind it. As our community has grown, I truly feel like I have friends all around the U.S., in Canada, and in the UK. Now, when I plan solo trips, I have the opportunity to meet up with these friends. And when people come to visit Walt Disney World, I am so fortunate to live here so I can meet them in person! 

When I first created Disney Travel for All, it was to fulfill a need that I saw when I tried to plan my first solo trip to Walt Disney World. There was a lack of solo travel resources for adults who, like me, wanted to travel to Disney destinations and on Disney cruises. Then, with the shift to Me and the Magic, I am striving to inspire others, especially women, to travel solo anywhere in the world. You may wonder why that is so important to me, given what I’ve just revealed to you about how I feel about solo travel. Because you, my friend, deserve to be out in the world. You deserve to take up space in the world. You deserve to experience all that this wonderful world has to offer. You deserve to connect with others as your fabulous self. This world needs you – it needs to see you and hear you and know you. And none of that will happen if you are sitting at home, waiting for someone to travel with you. (And yes, I’m talking to myself as well.) I know that it should not matter if you are with or without travel companions, but I am well aware that in our society, it often does matter. Again, my motivations are somewhat selfish, because as I provide resources to you on solo travel, I improve my life as I travel solo to more destinations. As I interview travel experts who share their stories of solo travels, I become more inspired as well. Then, as I travel more solo and realize what all I am capable of doing solo, I become braver and stronger and more confident. I also connect with more people, just by being out in the world more. My hope is that you come along this journey with me, and as I travel more, you travel more as well and experience the joy of travel. And then you will inspire others, through sharing your solo travels and the joy it brings you, to also act on their dreams and to experience more joy. And just imagine what an impact that could have on the world if we each experience more joy, and that joy then expands – it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

Resources

Want to talk with a life and leadership coach who can work with you on limiting beliefs, how to be a stronger leader, and much more? Contact Angie Robinson for a free Discovery call! Also, check out Angie’s podcast, The Practically Perfect Leader, for wonderful tips on leadership and life in general.

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